For the best tasting cup of coffee it is vital that you get the freshest possible beans. However, the best beans money can buy will only be wasted if the grind size and consistency is not good. This is why it is important to select a grinder that does the job right.
Overview of the Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder
The exterior of this Breville Smart Grinder is a combination of stainless steel with plastic casing. Its compact size leaves a small footprint on the counter. Stylishly designed and available in a number of color choices which include Cranberry Red, Silver and Black looks great in every kitchen. The stainless steel conical burrs are 58mm in diameter. The front of the unit houses the LCD backlit screen display with 25 grind sizes to choose from. The range expands from coarse setting suitable for French Press all the way to Ultra-Fine that is good enough to brew Turkish coffee. The smartness of the grinder kicks in when it automatically selects the perfect dose of coffee that matches with the grind size you select. The dose indicator alternates from cup numbers, which can range from 1 to 12, to number of shots as the grind size is changed from rough to very fine. Just below the screen display are the three control dials. The main dial displays visible grind settings with four click stops between each visible one.
The 1 pound hopper is sufficiently large so constant refilling is not necessary and the fact that it is airtight (sealed with silicone gasket) means the beans stay fresh for extended periods of time. Additionally, an ingenuous lock mechanism allows for the hopper to be removed with ease without having to empty out the beans first.
If you are a perfectionist who is very finicky about their coffee, then the potency of the batch being ground can be further manipulated by manually increasing or decreasing the power of the grounds. This can be achieved by increasing or decreasing the amount of coffee dispensed, in increments of five per cent up to a maximum of 20 per cent. The BCG800XL Smart Grinder eliminates one of the biggest hurdles to brewing great espresso at home. It ensures that the dose of coffee stays the same from batch to batch, something that otherwise can only be achieved through careful measurements.
What you Get:
The box contains everything you need to start grinding great coffee.
- Coffee hopper
- Two portafilter cradles
- An airtight jar for your coffee
- A cleaning brush
- Of-course the machine
It is common knowledge that cleaning is a breeze with any burr grinder. It seems that the Smart Grinder requires a little more attention than most. Additionally it tends to be a little messy. While the overflow of the portafilters is a requirement of espresso tamping, the collection tray at the bottom does not do a very good job of capturing all the surplus grinds that fall down. Portions of the grinder are difficult to reach from the top, further making cleaning a tedious chore.
Breville is known for making quality products and the BCG800xl Smart Grinder is proof of just that. Given that the grinder provides a large range of grinding options with a some new features thrown in at a very economical price, makes it that much more appealing. Finally it produces good quality, consistent grind size. This fact especially pays off in an espresso brew, where the crema is visible rich and fluffy.
There are however a couple of small issues. First, there is no power switch. The unit just goes to sleep after some time of no use. This translates to power wastage, regardless of how small the quantity. The second issue is more of a wishful thinking. The unit does not remember the various preference settings. So if for example you grind beans for espresso one time, and move on to French Press grind the next time. The machine will not remember the previously used settings when you return to espresso grind the next time.
The main issue with this unit has proven to be its’ plastic gear wheels that eventual get worn out with use. There is no fix to this problem, but mainly happens to heavy users after at least three to five years. This may be the reason this unit has been discontinued. With that said, this does not happen to all grinders and many of them can surpass five years, mine is a good example, having been used daily since 2012. Although this product is discontinued, it is still available for purchase through existing stock. You can also find updated alternatives.
Three out of four customers, who have purchased and used the BCG800XL, are happy with the product. They generally agree that it works quietly compared to many other grinders in the same category and they find it to be fairly easy to use.